Back on the boat, Part I…

in the cabin

The propeller that you see on the cabin wall to the upper right is not only an item of decor and conversation, it is our actual back up propeller.

For the last few years, we’ve lived in our sailboat in the winter and spring, starting out in Florida and cruising through the Abacos in the Bahamas. Well, we’re now back on the boat…in our “happy place”…

It’s compact living to be sure, but we love the simple lifestyle and freedom. You can see more pictures of Windsong II, our sailboat, here. It’s a Hunter 356, which is just short of 36 feet long.

As Bob has put it: “Windsong II is so much more than our winter home. She connects us to mother nature. With her we can see, hear and feel the wind, the waves, the tide changing, and wonder at the number of stars so bright from our bed at night.We watch the sunrise and the sunset from her cockpit. On her you can feel very small and full of awe. The wind can move her along so quietly — you can tell she loves it when the engine stops and the sails are full.  She takes care of us in bad weather. She is our mother ship — she allows us to swim in the clearest water, explore and photograph remote beaches, shorelines and settlements in her tender. She is just big enough we can have friends visit to share these experiences with us — what could be better than that? And those are just a few of the reasons we love her…”

Scene from Charles’ last trip to the Bahamas.

The last few years we’ve stayed in marinas as we cruised with one or two salty dogs, our Westies, Angus and Charles — and being on the dock made it much easier to get them off and on the boat many times a day — but sadly, it’s just Bob and me now.  So we have the option of anchoring out or taking mooring balls, which require dinghying to shore.

Right now we are in southeast Florida in a mooring field. We’ve stayed here before and really enjoyed it. It draws a community of friendly cruisers from all over the United States and Canada, even other countries. As part of the modest fee, you have access to showers, tuck shop, lending library, lounge, laundry facilities, wifi, bikes to rent, a shuttle bus and special events. There are also lots of great restaurants in walking distance. And shopping if you have the need.

Leaving the mooring field behind as we dinghy to shore — this particular day it was early morning.

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On board, we have a 70 gallon fresh water tank, which we use for washing dishes and such, and to fill it we need to haul 5 gallon jugs to the boat. Once you’ve hauled a few of these heavy suckers, you find ways to minimize your water use! Last year we installed a solar panel, so this year we have been relying almost 100% on solar for our electricity — fridge, freezer, LED lights, computers etc. On rainy days, we run our diesel generator briefly to provide power. Many other cruisers have wind generators too, but we haven’t gone there at this point. All in all, we have a much lighter ecological footprint than we do on land.

Scenes from the Sunset Bay mooring field…

It’s called Sunset Bay for a reason. One shore faces east and the other west, so we are treated to beautiful sunrises and sunsets almost every day. I don’t have to go far…just a few steps with my camera and there it is. I never tire of this beauty.

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Stay tuned for Part II…

 

 

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Above board…

boats black and white

The expression “above board,” meaning honest, originated in the days when pirates would hide most of their crew below decks in order to lure some unsuspecting victim. Those who did the reverse, by displaying all their crew openly on deck, were obviously honest.

Great photobook offer…

for poster two

Artisan State has a great offer on now for photobooks, which is good until the end of May.

I’ve created many photobooks with them in the past and have always loved the result.

I couldn’t resist this sale — an 8″ by 8″ book for $10 instead of $35, so I quickly put one together last night with some of my favourite images of this past winter. I call it Cruising in the Abacos on Windsong II, 2015.

I invite you to have a look at  my photobook with Artisan State. You may just want to whip one up too! I’d love to hear what you think if you do…

Crab Cay Anchorage, Bahamas

Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters.

Howard Bloomfield
windsong and dinghy2

Taken from our friends’ sailboat, Overdraught, of our sailboat  WIndsong II in the distance and our dinghy as the sun goes down on Crab Cay.

 

Pelican play…

 

pelican bluelr

I wasn’t planning to shoot pelicans today, but there they were in the marina we are living in now on our sailboat, attracted by the man cleaning fish at the table designed for that purpose. The light was great so I grabbed my camera.

Groups of pelicans are called squadrons. They hover around waiting for tasty tidbits to be thrown at them. They swoop in and splash down, see what they can grab to eat, and then they fly away, splashing on take off too. They are so intriguing.

I learned a lot about these funny looking creatures last year and shared some of it in a previous post on pelicans. I took most of my shots last time from our dinghy and used my 24 to 85 mm lens.

This time I used my 70 to 200 mm lens to capture the pelicans which enabled me to get some decent close ups. I also used back button focus, which resulted in much better focus in most of my shots. And of course continuous shooting gave me a good selection of pelican poses. Here are some of my favourite captures.

By the way, I started a new blog about living on our sailboat, Windsong II. Pop over if you are interested.

pelicanslr

Here’s looking at you, kid.

 

pelican pilingslr

winspanlr

The pelican wingspan is about 6 to 7 feet.

part of pel